The Minister of State for Labour and Productivity Mr. James Ocholi (SAN), his wife, Blessing and son, Joshua, on Sunday died in a road crash along the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway, 57 kilometres to their Kaduna destination.
Punch reported it was learnt that the Sport Utility Vehicle in which the family travelled in, had a burst tyre on the highway, leading to the crash.
Ocholi, who hailed from Ogbabede Abocho in the Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State and his third child
were said to have died on the spot after the Prado-Jeep had a burst tyre in the rear and somersaulted several times.
It was gathered that the minister’s SUV ran into other vehicles in his convoy.
A critically injured Blessing (the wife) died at the Doka Government Hospital, Kaduna, around 4pm on Sunday.
The driver and aide de camp, who were also rushed to the clinic, were later brought to the National Hospital, Abuja at
7.45pm for treatment. The Kaduna State Sector Commander of the Federal Road
Safety Commission, Mr. Francis Udoma, said the accident occurred about 57 kilometres away from Kaduna.
Udoma confirmed that the minister and the son died on the spot, adding that some aides to the late minister also sustained injuries. The news of the minister’s death was first broken by his counterpart for Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
He said on his twitter handle,
“It is too heavy for me to bear the loss of my dear friend, Minister of State, James Ocholi, SAN. We departed on Friday to meet no more.”
The Head, Media Relations and Strategy, FRSC, Bisi Kazeem, also confirmed the sad incident. He said, “There was a road traffic crash along Abuja- Kaduna Expressway involving an SUV which somersaulted after one of its tyres burst. Sadly, the Minister of State for Labour, James Ocholi, lost his life in the crash.”
Tears flowed uncontrollably among friends, lawyers, chieftains of the All Progressives Congress and relatives as
the corpses of Ocholi, Blessing and Joshua were brought to the National Hospital, Abuja, by officials of the FRSC.
That of his wife was brought in about one hour, thirty minutes later. Senior government officials, who were on the ground at the Hospital when the vehicles arrived, were seen discussing the incident in hushed tones Punch reports.
President Muhammadu Buhari expressed shock and sadness at the death of Ocholi, his wife and son.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Sunday, Buhari described
the death of the minister’s as untimely, regretting that Nigeria had lost a key component of the change agenda.
“Barrister Ocholi was an accomplished and patriotic
Nigerian, who was keen to accept the call to service at a
time his country needed him,” Buhari said.